This piece was a ton of fun! There two version for YouTube. One time-lapse and one real-time recording of the stream. I've linked them both below. Click the titles at the top to watch on YouTube and go full-screen.
In this video, I'll walk you through my thought process in real-time as I start working on the first two pages of a new project - POSTAL for Top Cow. There are a ton of tips in here!
If you'll looking to learn more, check out my complete Photoshop digital coloring course--50+ real-time video tutorials--10 hours of lessons (with downloadable presets for my brushes, tools, actions, and color swatches). Sign up at ColoringComics.com to get two free lessons to try first!
Here's the second in my new series How NOT to Color Comics! This Photoshop tutorial covers shifting your hues and avoiding boring light and shadow colors. :)
How long does it take you to color a page?
I probably average between 1.5 - 2 hours per page. There are always a few outliers that go faster or even way slower, but that's probably pretty close to my average.
Many people usually respond to this and get discouraged at how they don't think they'll ever get that fast. The speed comes with time. It's not something that you can rush. I've been coloring comics with Photoshop for over ten years now, and I'm still finding shortcuts all the time.
Many beginner colorists also feel the need to render everything on a page with an equal amount of detail. This will slow you down dramatically and is rarely necessary. Focus your rendering where it's important! Faces, hands, focal points. Keep everything else relatively simple. That's not saying to not render at all, but if you think I'm going to spend as much time rendering the flower pot in the window in the background as I do on the face of a character, you'd be wrong. :)
I might do a video on this soon, but I hope this helps someone!
A common problem explained... :) Enjoy!
I'd like to invite you to attend a live Q&A that I'll be streaming Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 8pm Central US in celebration of reaching 10,000 YouTube subscribers! That's 6pm Pacific, 7pm Mountain, 9pm Eastern for the time-zone challenged! :)
Thanks to all of you that subscribe there or have supported me in my courses. It's cliche, but I literally couldn't do it without you!
Feel free to come ask me about whatever you like--coloring, comic book industry or business stuff, or just ask me about my cats or something. It should last about an hour or so, give or take, but I'll stay later to answer to as many questions as I can if necessary!
You can watch the live stream and chat at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el4x9kVeRiA
I hope to see you there!
After posting about Xia's YouTube channel, I thought it would be a good idea to provide some other useful resources for people interested in coloring or painting in general. Of course, I'm partial to my coloring course, but there's so many great resources out there. So here's a few that I've enjoyed over the years (and in most cases, still enjoy!)--things that have helped me on my journey or things I believe would help you.
In no particular order...
Lummage's YouTube Channel - Nathan Lumm is a fellow colorist with a ton of great videos. He'll provide a slightly different angle on coloring techniques than you'll see in my channel, since there's about a million ways to do everything in Photoshop! His Comic Book Coloring Tips & Tricks series is a great resource. He hasn't posted in a while, but he's probably busy coloring! :)
Sycra's Foundations of Light and Shadow - I love this series! It's a fantastic set of lessons for those of you that might have trouble with rendering. If you need help figuring out where the light and shadow should go, this is for you! I still go back and watch some of these videos every few months. This won't be the only appearance of Sycra on this list.
Also from Sycra... How To Choose Colors That Work This video was very eye openings for me, and I can't recommend it enough for those of you that might wonder why your colors "don't seem to fit" or clash or that sort of thing. Check it out!
For those of you that still remember what books are, James Gurney's book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter is incredibly good. Even though the book is focused on painting, all of the color theory stuff applies regardless. I keep this book very close to my desk all the time!
His gamut masking tool was recreated as a PSD file here, by the way: (You may don't know what that is yet, so read the book!)
There are also some resources in that link that explain more. I used this tool when generating palette ideas for a new Image project coming later this year. It's a great way to come up with interesting palettes.
This is a book you'll probably have to soak up for a while. There's a ton of content, and I still don't understand the majority of it well enough, but I'm working at it!
Comics Experience's Introduction to Comic Book Coloring. Coloring veteran Chris Sotomayor (AVENGERS, BATMAN, X-MEN, about a billion other books) teaches this course. Soto's been coloring since 1996. This is a paid option, and it's not cheap, but the difference here is that each class is live with the instructor online. I took this course is 2014--even after I was getting pro work, and I found it to be extremely helpful. Soto is pretty active on Twitter too, and he's good about answering questions about his course there.
This YouTube video is another excellent lesson in storytelling with color:
One more for you! Hi-Fi Color for Comics.
The original version was one of the first books I picked up on coloring, and I found out that figuring things out on my own had me doing some weird stuff before I read this.
They recently updated it, so be sure to check it out. It's a great book for beginners.
So that's it! I hope you enjoyed this list. Let me know what you guys think! I'm sure I'll add to this to keep it updated in the future. Send me your ideas as well!
K. Michael Russell
Xia is one of my favorites on YouTube! Check out this new video on practicing with palettes... very cool stuff!
I was asked about this by a few people, so I thought I throw together a quick video to show you how to clean up your line art with Levels in Photoshop. This is not something I've really had to do very much professionally since usually the artist does it, but it's good to know!
This was a big departure from my usual style. I actually painted it first (and only used the flats to clean it up). I learned a lot along the way. Enjoy!
By popular request, a flatting tutorial video! Flatters, sometimes called coloring assistants, break up all of the elements on the page into separate colors. It's sometimes called color separations. The colors themselves are irrelevant, but they make the colorist's job easier by allowing them to just select the areas with a magic wand, as opposed to re-lassoing everything when coloring.
There are many, many wrong ways for a flatter to flat pages. I'm constantly hearing from fellow colorists that have a hard time finding new flatters that know how to do it properly.
So I made this video to try to rectify that! I'm sure there's more than one correct way to do it, but this is my way, and I know it works!
In this week's video, I talk about how I use textures with masks and overlay layer modes. I also discuss a bit about atmospheric perspective--which can be used to create depth in panels and pages with color. Enjoy!
In this video, I'll show you an example of how I plan my pages out ahead of time. It's important for storytelling and often overlooked in coloring tutorials. Story by Amy Chu (POISON IVY, WONDER WOMAN, GIRLS NIGHT OUT). Line art by Isaac Goodhart (POSTAL) For the FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE MIX TAPE anthology.
Jim Zub's blog has been a fantastic resource for me. You may know Jim from his work as a writer on Image's WAYWARD and SKULLKICKERS. He also writes FIGMENT for Marvel/Disney. He's a great artist as well.
When I was first getting back into comics, I think I read almost every post he had on his website. It's just full of great articles and tutorials on all sorts of things comic-related. So I was really happy to learn that today that he posted about my coloring course, Coloring Comics with Photoshop, and added it to his list of comic-making resources.
"I wish I had something as clearly laid out and well organized as this course when I started digitally coloring my work. Needless to say, I recommend it for people who want to produce pro quality comic coloring." - Jim Zub
Check out the full blog post on it here: http://www.jimzub.com/how-to-color-for-comics/
So thanks to Jim for the kind words! You can also find him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JimZub
It still blows my mind that so many people are learning how to color comics in my course. Over sixty countries are represented now! I received this email today from one of my newest students:
"My name is [XXXXXX] and I recently purchased your course. I'm a Spanish architect, and I don't know why, all of a sudden I find myself enrolled in the comic world. I've been asked to learn the ropes of colouring comics with Photoshop in order to take some projects.
Even though I knew many things about Photoshop because of my job (well, here in Spain there´s no job for an architect), I wanted to learn from a professional. I just wanted to thank you because of your great effort to make every lesson understandable.
You see, I'm Spanish and I almost understand everything! I want to let you know that you'll be hearing from me, at the moment I'm browsing the course to catch the overall idea, but I'm going to get down to work very soon and I'll be needing your advice in the forum section."
Here's a new tutorial on how to avoid muddy colors in Photoshop! Monitors can show millions of colors--many that you can't print that only work on a computer screen. Here's how I deal with it: